Title: Taxi Tales from Paris

Author: Nicky Gentil

Pages: 112 Pages

Publisher: Matador

The Blurb

Taxi Tales From Paris is not your typical account of what happens when you move to another country. Nicky Gentil’s memoir offers the reader a truly original insight into life in the French capital because, as the title suggests, everything is seen through the prism of her most memorable taxi rides taken during the thirty years she has lived there.

Hugely entertaining, with some delightful comic touches, Gentil’s tales cover a wide variety of subjects such as her love of her adoptive country, the cultural differences she frequently encounters, the joys of parenthood, or indeed her ever-present passion for jazz, to quote but a few examples.

By the end of this book, as with any memoir set in the City of Light, you will immediately want to leap on board the next Eurostar going but, on this occasion, with one very specific aim in mind: to jump – upon arriving in Paris – into the very first taxi you see!

The Review

I don’t know what it is about Paris but it is a city that gets under your skin. You cannot fail to fall completely in love with it. I am a total Francophile and I love books set in Paris, even more so when it is a non-fictional account of this beautiful city. It is with this in mind that I have to tell you about this gorgeous book – Taxi Tales from Paris. It is a book made up of quirky encounters that author Nicky Gentil has had with taxi drivers in Paris.

The tales were delightful. They were funny, cute, endearing and all show how these journeys and encounters have helped shape Gentil’s many years in Paris. It is an adorable book which is over far too quickly. You should probably treasure and take your time with Taxi Tales from Paris but I couldn’t put it down.

Pick up Taxi Tales from Paris. You will be awfully glad you did.

Taxi Tales from Paris by Nicky Gentil is available now.

Title: Dinner with Edward

Author: Isabel Vincent

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Pushkin Press

The Blurb

A charming, tender and life-affirming memoir of a middle-aged woman’s unlikely bond with a 93-year-old widower.

With its delicious food, warm jazz, and stunning views of Manhattan, Edward’s home was a much-needed refuge for reporter Isabel Vincent. Her recently widowed ninety-something neighbour would prepare weekly meals for her, dinners Isabel would never cook for herself – fresh oysters, juicy steak, sugar-dusted apple galette. But over long, dark evenings where they both grieved for their very different lost marriages, Isabel realised she was being offered a gift greater than crisp martinis and perfect lamb chops.

As they progressed from meals à deux to full dinner parties with an eclectic New York crowd, she saw that Edward was showing her how to rediscover the joy of life. For even a shared bowl of chowder could transform loneliness and anxiety into friendship, freedom, and a pure, simple pleasure Isabel had not known she could find again.

The Review

What an absolutely gorgeous book. Dinner with Edward is a memoir of sorts. It is kind of the memoir of two people rather than one. Isabel Vincent met Edward when she was bequeathed the task of looking after him. Edward had recently lost his wife and didn’t see the point carrying on however, through his unusual friendship with Isabel and their shared love of good food they form an irrepressible bond that was just gorgeous to see unfold. All the while we see how Isabel Vincent’s life is unfolding parallel to Edward’s life winding down.

Dinner with Edward is an absolute joy of a book. It reminds us to value people not things, shared experiences, stories and that the bet things in life can often be shared over a decent meal. It reminds us to be kind and it reminds us to give a moment to pause and a second thought to those who are older and potentially lonely.

I honestly cannot recommend Dinner with Edward enough. The writing style is easy and approachable, you don’t get overwhelmed by the story you simply find yourself immersed in the friendship and wishing you were invited along for the meal.

Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent is available now.

For more information regarding Isabel Vincent (@isareport) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pushkin Press (@PushkinPress) please visit www.pushkinpress.com.

Title: Pizza Girl

Author: Jean Kyoung Frazier

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl, our dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father, avoiding her loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.

Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighbourhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickle-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness.

As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.

Bold, tender, and unexpected, Pizza Girl is a moving and funny portrait of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she tries to find her place in the world.

The Review

Jane is young. She has just finished high school. She works in a pizza restaurant. She is pregnant. That is about as much as you can say about Jane on the surface. We don’t begin to understand her or her motivation in life until she gets a random pizza request from a lonely woman called Jenny. It is then that her world goes a little off kilter.

Pizza Girl, for me, was essentially the story of being a little bit lost. Jane seems lost on a strangely pre-determined path that Jane couldn’t seem to get off. Jane doesn’t seem to be comfortable with her pregnancy or her relationship with the baby’s father. Nor does she seem happy to believe that this is it, her life. When she meets Jenny it is almost like Jane finally finds someone to be a beacon of adulthood and what it is all about – not a perfect version of adulthood but with Jane being young and impressionable it seems better than what she has.

I will say that Pizza Girl is a very quirky and unique novel. It is not one that intends to make the reader feel comfortable. It skirts the edge of unusual indie read with no real resolution. However, it does leave you feeling strangely optimistic.

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier is available from 06th September 2020.

For more information regarding Jean Kyoung Frazier (@gojeanfraziergo) please visit www.gojeanfraziergo.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: An Oxford Revenge

Author: Maxine Barry

Pages: 204 Pages

Publisher: Joffe Books

The Blurb

REVENGE ISN’T ALWAYS AS SWEET AS YOU THINK

Faith Martin is the author of the beloved Hillary Greene series. Her books have sold more than 2 million copies. Discover her writing as Maxine Barry.

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO FOR REVENGE?

Davina Granger wants revenge. She blames Dr Gareth Lacey for her brother’s suicide. When she gets a fellowship at his Oxford college, she sees her chance to punish him.

But is he really as guilty as she believes?

Alicia Norman is a student at the same college. She’s excited to leave her sheltered, privileged existence for college life. But her brother and his friends will do anything to stop her from being with anyone they think isn’t posh enough for her. Including murder?

HOW FAR WILL THEY GO?

The Review

I was really looking forward to reading An Oxford Revenge. I wanted a good, old fashioned murder mystery. What I got was a mild porno decorated with a too neat, cheesy murder plot. Additionally, all the characters seemed to have problems with sensitive nipples.

The story goes like this: brilliant poet, Davina Granger heads to Oxford University to exact revenge on the person she blames for her brother’s death – Dr Gareth Lacey. Things get complicated when she begins to have feelings for him.

The issue I had with An Oxford Revenge – besides the rogue nippular attacks – was that everything was too neat and clean. There was a problem, a confrontation and bam the problem was fixed with a happy ending. It just didn’t work. Furthermore, Barry was over descriptive in everything. Whilst this worked well when describing Oxford and the Cotswolds, it failed to have the same impact when describing the characters because it was used too frequently. It is okay for a character’s eyes to be noticeable and sparkle like diamonds but if every person notices them then it becomes extremely tedious for the reader.

Overall, An Oxford Revenge promised a lot but failed to deliver anything special.

An Oxford Revenge by Maxine Barry is available now.

For more information regarding Faith Martin (@MaxineBbooks) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Joffe Books (@JoffeBooks) please visit www.joffebooks.com.

Title: We Germans

Author: Alexander Starritt

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: John Murray Press

The Blurb

When a young British man asks his German grandfather what it was like to fight on the wrong side of the war, the question is initially met with irritation and silence. But after the old man’s death, a long letter to his grandson is found among his things.

That letter is this book. In it, he relates the experiences of an unlikely few days on the Eastern Front – at a moment when he knows not only that Germany is going to lose the war, but that it deserves to. He writes about his everyday experience amid horror, confusion and great bravery, and he asks himself what responsibility he bears for the circumstances he found himself in. As he tries to find an answer he can live with, we hear from his grandson what kind of man he became in the seventy years after the war.

We Germans is a fundamentally human novel that grapples with the most profound of questions about guilt, shame and responsibility – questions that remain as live today as they have always been.

The Review

The Second World War took place a long time ago. Yet, the negative connotations of that war still linger. For some, it happened during their life time but for people like myself who are post war (well I’m Gen X) it is just something that I have never been able to comprehend fully. What I do know is that people who didn’t have anything to do with the war are still feeling the finger of blame being pointed.

In We Germans, Alexander Starritt poses the question of what it must have been like to be on the ‘wrong side’ of war to his German grandfather. It causes upset and subsequently we see what war and life was like for a German soldier. We Germans is a great example of how we put our assumptions upon other peoples’ stories and their histories and assume things without looking at the intricacies that surround it. Yes, to be a German soldier could be seen to be on the wrong side of the war if you fought for the other side. However, if you have been told it is an honour to fight for your country then it all just becomes relative.

What We Germans reminds us is that young soldiers were the real victims. They were sent to the front with very little in the way of food, clothing, life experience and expected to do their duty. We Germans is a book to make the reader realise that there wasn’t much difference between soldiers from Germany and from elsewhere across the world.

We Germans is a fascinating read that takes place across Europe but also across the generations. You really feel like you are travelling the length of the country with the German forces.

We Germans by Alexander Starritt will be available from 06th August 2020.

For more information regarding John Murray Press (@johnmurrays) please visit www.johnmurraypress.co.uk.